Building Plan ApprovalBuying Chennai PropertiesCMDA/DTCP


 What are Setbacks?

Setbacks Spaces are the least required open spaces between the plot boundary and the building periphery proposed to be constructed in a plot. Set Backs spaces are to be provided at all sides of a building and are governed by the height of a building proposed and the depth of the plot and abutting road width.

Why Setbacks?

They are meant
1)for providing light, ventilation and privacy not only to the development under consideration but also to the neighbouring buildings,
2) as circulation spaces and help parking of vehicles,
3) for movement of fire tenders around the building  and for preventing the fire from spreading to neighbouring buildings.

The Norms

Multi-storeyed buildings (buildings exceeding 15.25 m in height):

The setback need for a multi-storeyed building depends on the height of the building. The least setback space required all around an MSB of height up to 30 m is 7 m. For every additional 6 m in height, beyond the 30M, 1 m is to be added to the setback all around.

The space specified above should be kept open to sky and free from any projections such as sunshade and balconies. However, a watchman room/caretaker booth/transformer is permissible after leaving the required setback from the main structure. In case there is more than one building, then the distance between each of them should be the same as what has been specified for setbacks all around.

Special buildings (buildings up to 15. 25 m in height):

The front setback (FSB) is governed by the width of the road the site abuts. The least front setback required is 3.5 m for roads having width ranging from 10 to 15 m. For roads with width between 15 and 30 m, 4.5 m is required. If the width of the road exceeds 30 m, the need for the FSB is 6 m.
The side setbacks (left and right) are governed by the height of the building. The setbacks on two sides put together should be not less than two-thirds the height of the building with a minimum of 3.5 on any one side.

The rear setback depends on the depth of the property and it varies from a minimum of 3.5 m to 4.5 m. Unsupported sunshade and wardrobes of .6 m depth and non-continuous balconies of depth up to 1 m are permissible in setback spaces.


The regulations stipulate that the set backs shall be a minimum of one-third the height of the building subject to a minimum of 3.5m. The Side Set Back need not be necessarily the same on both sides. CMDA permits a minimum of 3.5m on any one side provided the rest of the total two-third of the building is left on the other side. 

The requirements vary for each category of buildings like Ordinary Buildings, Special Buildings and Multi-Storeyed Buildings.

For ordinary buildings having not more than two floors:

Depending on the width of the plot, the side setbacks can vary up to 1.5 m. The front setback is determined by the width of the road as in the case of special buildings. The rear setback is governed by the depth of the plot and it varies from 1.5 to 4.5 m.

In case of residential buildings, structures like toilet, change room, garbage etc. not intended for human habitation and servant quarters are permissible provided it doesn’t occupy more than one third of the plot width, 6m from rear boundary and 4 metres in height from ground level. 

NOTE: It will be clear from the above that while calculating the constructed area that could come up on a site apart from the FSI,  factors like 1) setback, and 2)extent of construction permitted in a site, which is 70% of the land in the case of residential constructions, also should be taken into account.Needless to say you have to consult a qualified architect/planner before starting your construction. 

For more details about setback and other regulations visit CMDA SECOND MASTER PLAN REGULATIONS


2 thoughts on “SETBACK SPACES

  1. I’m building a house in Chennai. If I’m doing a setback violation, but Fsi achieved is within the permissible limit, will I be charged a fee

    1. The Authorities do not have the powers to condone the Violations of Development Rules after collecting a fee. Such violations will have to be regularised by a Government Order only.For more clarifications we would request you to consult a professional in this regard.

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